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He Finds Gold In Old Barns, Corn Cribs
"There's a gold mine of valuable lumber in most old barns," says Ken Andre, Michigan City, Ind., a barn dismantling expert who makes his living salvaging wood for farmers who want old barns, corn cribs and silos torn down.
Andre's hobby is photographing beautiful old barns and the last thing he'd ever do is encourage anyone to tear down a barn just to get at the lumber. "But, if you have to tear it down anyway, you might as well save the lumber," he tells farmers.
Oftentimes, it's not economical to maintain old unused barns. "A new roof can cost $3,000 to $4,000 on a big old barn," Andre points out, noting that many old barns contain thousands of dollars worth of good usable lumber. "Some old barns contain as many as 200 2 by 12-in. floor joists, 2 by 6-in. rafters, 4 by 4-in. posts, and many wood beams, all in excellent condition for a variety of building projects around the farm."
Working by himself, Andre travels throughout the Midwest dismantling barns "board by board" using only a small selection of specially-built hand tools and a chain saw. He has no ladder or other power equipment and works out of a small car.
"It took me years to learn how to quickly and efficiently dismantle large barns without damaging the wood," says Andre, who originally owned a business that resold salvaged barn wood to builders and decorators for new construction use. He now simply charges a set fee based on square footage and drops the barn in such a way that the wood's available for future use by the farmer.
"Most farmers contact local contractors before they come to me and find out that I can do the job cheaper and they have the lumber left over to salvage," says Andre.
He has dismantled 35 to 40 barns throughout the Midwest in the last couple years. Each farmer receives a signed contract that protects him from any liability should there be an accident. The work takes about a week, in most cases, and most of the lumber is left nail-free, stacked in organized piles sorted according to size.
Dismantling a 30 by 40-ft. barn costs $720. A 40 by 60-ft. barn costs $1,200 and a 40 by 90-ft. barns costs $1,800. Corncribs cost approximately $.85 a square foot. Call for an estimate.
In addition to barns and corncribs, Andre also dismantles silos. Farmers usually call him in when a silo is located too close to other buildings to simply push over. He can drop an averaged size 45 by 14-ft. silo in 1 to 2 days for a price of about $300.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Andre' Enterprises, 322 Johnson Rd., Michigan City, Ind. 46360 (ph 219 879-2199).

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1985 - Volume #9, Issue #4